Enjo-kōsai (援助交際) or "supported relationship", abbreviated as enkō is the act of high school girls (13 to 17) or housewives dating older men for money, gifts of luxuries, among other things.
It's just dates for dinner, karaoke, movies, holding hands and keeping company. The practice of sex in Enjo-kōsai is not common, but it can happen in a limited way or in certain cases.
The nature of Enjo-kōsai is heavily contested within Japan. The most common connotation is that enkō is a form of child prostitution in which participating girls sell their bodies in exchange for designer goods or money.
Anthropologist Laura Miller argues in her research that most Enjo-kōsai dates consist of groups of girls who go with a group of older men to a karaoke bar for several hours and are paid for the time they spend with them. your companions.
Furthermore, in a 1998 survey by the Women's Fund of Asia, researchers found that less than 10 percent of all high school girls were involved with Enjo-kōsai, and more than 90 percent of girls surveyed said they did. feel uncomfortable with exchanging or buying sexual services for money.
Perceptions in Japanese society
Usually it is perceived as an extension of Japan's growing focus on materialism, many of the critics say the biggest cause is Enjo-kōsai. Critics fear that the girls involved in Enjo-kōsai will grow up to be unfit wives and mothers. This perception stems from suspicions that when these girls become adults, they will quickly abandon their loyalties and commitments to their family for the offer of money and material benefits.
However, some girls think that control over their bodies and the means to support themselves is a kind of independence. Good women in Japan are supposed to be sensible, modest, caring and respectful, and clearly these girls are throwing away all these virtues when they participate in Enjo-kōsai.
Sooner or later, these girls and young women would have a desire for financial independence, making Enjo-kōsai a new market and empowerment choice.
Enjo-kōsai through the media
Within Japan, the media tends to portray Enjo-kōsai in a very negative light. In some series, novels, among others, the enkō has a typical scenario that involves a girl desperate for money, so she decides to participate in the Enjo-kōsai, and only later does she stop when a friend or other people intervene and inform her -a of the potential risks and consequences of your behavior.
The media can characterize Enjo-kōsai as a form of prostitution, but it depends on which angle you look at the situation, whether of the person or the agreement signed with the client, the most correct way to say that the term Enjo-kōsai characterizes the act of satisfying the customer in a sexual or affective way or of keeping company in some places, such as restaurants and cafes.
Prostitution has been illegal in Japan since the 1950s, although the definition of prostitution is strict, covering not only contact between the genitals. Special laws on child prostitution were created in the 1990s. Enjo-kōsai was not regulated by the Japanese government as it does not fall under the legal definition of prostitution unless the client explicitly pays the girl for sex (which is rare , due to the indirect nature of the transactions). Since the age of consent in Japan varies between 13 and 17 years old, depending on the jurisdiction, customers cannot be accused of child abuse.